Time to Make the Doughnuts.

I got asked to come in to work early today. I almost didn't go in because I had some coffee left over from yesterday. But it was nasty, so I ended up going in after all to make myself something. It was then that my manager asked if I knew she'd switched me from 3pm to 2pm. Of course, if I'd known this, or if she'd known that I'd known . . . well, she wouldn't have asked me, right?
She and our other manager weren't apparently speaking to one another. They kept walking right past the other person. Both of them said hi to me, but Annie made kind of a big production of asking how much fun I'd had on Saturday, and if I'd had too much fun. I admitted I had, but I felt weird because Chris wasn't at the party. I don't really want to get stuck in the middle of any sort of manarial feud, and I don't want to play favorites. It's ridiculous the amount of drama goes on at any job. It doesn't matter where I work or what I do, I always seem to get dragged into something I'd rather not.

I need to drink more water. Yesterday I was hungover enough that I had almost as much as my body probably normally needs, so I was peeing every 15 minutes. If you drink 60 ounces per day, do you pee all time, or do you, at some point, become accustomed to it?

How many melanomas do you think George Hamilton has had to have cut off?

In case you plan on watching the State of the Union tonight, please to enjoy the drinking game sent to me by, of all people, my own mother.

This, That, and the Other

Supposedly my student loan refund is in the mail. Has been in the mail. The extra effort I took this semester to make sure they knew I was done purchasing my books have not seemed to help. The check is stil not here.

Last night I went to a birthday party for my boss and I got messed up. Luckily, I think everyone there was way more messed up, way earlier than I was. Charlie kept telling me to relax and enjoy it but it's hard to enjoy yourself when you're convinced that you're falling off your chair.
On the ride home I told him it was peer pressure – that all my co-workers are still pretty young so they party pretty hard – and I don't want to seem like the old stick-in-the-mud. Then I informed him that I was thinking about taking out my earrings.
It was kind of a weird night, but I did have fun, and I stayed out a lot later than I'd originally thought I would, having worked till close and having cramps and all.

Cavan now offically hates his job and the people he works for. The owner's wife apparently told him yesterday that he was doing a shitty job of washing the dishes. He told her that if she didn't like it, she could find someone else to do them. She laughed and said “That's not how I meant it!” Like in a “Oh, you big silly!” sort of tone. But it really got to him. As we were leaving for the party, we asked him not to hurt himself or to call if he was going to. It made him laugh. He got paid today so he's in a better mood, but I know he doesn't want to work there. He's actually considering going back to the bar where he and Charlie worked together.

I recently figured out that I hate washing my hair. It's not something you think about when it's super-short and easy to color. But now that my hair is actually long enough to start pulling back with barrettes, I absolutely hate getting it wet, washing it, gelling it, combing it down to hope it dries straight. And it's not long enough to let dry naturally or I'd have a mini-afro. Sometimes I think I'm getting away with something when people refer to me as having straight hair. Like the joke's on them. Only it's really on me because I'm the one that puts all the effort into straightening it.

Today Liz and I spent four and a half hours doing 54 math problems. Of course, lunch was in there, potty and cigarette breaks too, so we drug it out. I'm glad it's all done but I let her borrow the rest of my math homework because she hasn't done any of it yet. And we have to turn it in before taking our test this week. I completely forgot to pick her brain about this job she wants me to apply for. That was my ulterior motive for having her come out to do the homework in the first place.
Then I found out that Math M111 (Statistics) at IUPUI is a prerequisite for M118 (Finite Mathematics) and I got really angry because I thought going for an English major would mean I didn't have to worry about another two math courses, just one. Argh!

Which is another reason I'm considering that job. I really don't know what I want to go to school for anymore and it's getting frustrating. I really thought I had it all figured out. I do, however, have at the very least, a semester of full courses, plus a summer, that are general ed or electives before I absolutely have to declare a major. I think I figured out that I need two science courses, and one has to have a lab attached to it; M111 and M118; two history courses (and H114, some sort of history of western civilization, I think, is required); and something else that I forgot. So we've got at least seven classes there that I need to take.

Assign Personal Value Here: ________

This morning I had an email from MySpace, telling me “Jason wants to be [my] friend.”
Turns out, it's this guy I went to high school with, who I haven't seen in many years. He has a link on his MySpace account to his blog, something I actually came across a couple of years ago. I'd written him to tell him something pointless – that what I remember most about him is cheating off his test in a science class. And to apologize for it, since I got caught and we both got in trouble.
When I first moved to Indiana I was in a completely different place than most of the students in my class. I was either way ahead of them, or way behind. For whatever reason, I was way behind in science and math, yet I was reading at a college level (something I used to be proud of but after having been in college for two years now, doesn't seem like that astounding a compliment). Despite being a new student and not having followed the material from the beginning of the school year, the teacher decided I should go ahead and take this test. I was at a loss. I had pegged Jason as one of the “smart kids,” and he happened to be sitting right next to me, and found my eyes traveling over to his test. I think I may have even asked him if I could see his paper.

What's so odd about this and why I remember it so clearly, despite happening over 15 years ago, is that I'm usually the person who gets asked if another student can see my paper, or people in my class activity groups are asking me, ever-so-sweetly, to do all of the work. I'm not a cheater, I'm usually the cheatee.

So I spent a lot of time this morning reading through his blog because, up till now, I'd forgotten about it. It's not that I haven't thought of him, or wondered how he was doing, I just figured that if he didn't write me back a few years ago, perhaps he didn't want to communicate with me, so there wasn't any point in sneaking around his blog, trying to find out what he was up to.

It makes me feel both dissatisfied and satisfied with myself at the same time, to read about Jason's life. We're both socially introverted, but he's whipping up gourmet meals at home and buying cases of wine in Napa Valley to store away in his loft in the Bay Area. He seems to be shy and unsure of himself at times, but he's got a great camera collection and an eye for composition.
Meanwhile I'm still rotting in Indiana, trying to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life. Do I stay in school for another couple of years and hope graduate school transplants me somewhere more exciting? Do I take the government job and start acting like an adult? Or so I accept that there's something richer and more fulfilling for me in Indianapolis than I realize — but that I just haven't found it yet?

I used to daydream about moving out of Indiana because I never felt like I “belonged,” but as I got older I realized how ridiculous it is to associate your self-worth with your address. Now, though, I'm reverting to my old thoughts – feeling as though I “belong” somewhere else. I do wish I had a place with a bigger kitchen in an area people don't refer to as “ghetto,” but I haven't done anything typical to Indiana women like buy a new-construction home with no grass or trees and paint everything taupe. I don't decorate with plastic flowers and call it “crafts.” I may own a sport utility vehicle, but Charlie drives it while I drive a beat-up Toyota Corolla with 200,000 miles, only because the public transportation here is notoriously awful.

I don't think the life I lead is “typical” for a thirty year-old woman. I find satisfaction in that, as well as finding it, at times, a bit unnerving. When people discover my age, they generally act surprised. They pretend that it's because I still look like someone in her early twenties, but part of it, too, is that I'm doing the things they think a thirty year-old is “supposed” to do. I don't own a home; I live in a 1920s double in south Broad Ripple. I don't have any children; I have dogs that I obsess over. I don't have a diamond; I wear a $12 band I found at Future Shock.

These things are my choice but it's disturbing to know that another person's perceived opinion about my status can so unsettle me, so quickly.
How do you get to the point where you just stop caring? Or does anyone, really, honestly not care what other people think?
I don't know if this is possible. A lot of people say it, but it sounds like one of those things to say for its own sake.

Dreams & Robberies

I woke up this morning with memories of my dream still very fresh in my mind. For whatever reason, the entire night was filled with C-list celebrities doing weird things together or to each other.
The main thing I remember is the kid who played Zack on “Saved By the Bell” masturbating in front of Tobey Maguire. I don't recall myself being involved in this part of the dream at all – I just remember watching it. Tobey was really upset with the Zack kid (I can't remember the actor's real name and don't care to look it up right now), who just kept yanking it under the sheet of this hotel room bed.
Now that I start to think of it again, the memories are fading. I can't remember what other actors or actresses popped up . . .

I'm invited to a get-together tomorrow night. I was supposed to go out tonight to have drinks with my manager but since she's having the party tomorrow night, we agreed we didn't really want to go out both evenings. I closed tonight, last night, Tuesday night, and I close tomorrow, too. I know I'm not going to be feeling much up for partying with a bunch of 24 year-olds, but I feel obligated.
Cavan was giving me a hard time last night, saying I “shouldn't hang out with people from work.” I got kind of upset because, as I reminded him, I don't really have all that many friends.
When it comes down to it, I'd probably much rather have a bunch of acquaintances upon whom I can call every once in a while to have a drink. But I don't really like to “go out and have a drink” all that often. I would have to say I have one really close friend right now, but she's always so busy . . . I've been trying to work out plans with her for this Sunday and we've played phone tag the past three days. At one point she actually pulled up outside my house yesterday as I was getting ready for work, but she got a call from her boss that she had to take, so she just mouthed “Call me later!” Which I found very surreal, because she was parked in front of my house as I drove off to go to work.

I just saw on the news that a store next door to where my roommate works got robbed today. The suspects “got away in a small silver car.” Cavan, incidentally, drives a “small silver car.” So I called his cell since I haven't seen him all day and he didn't answer. So now I'm all worried.

In other news, I hung out while Charlie got his first real, big tattoo this afternoon. He was pretty thrilled with it. Unfortunately, I have been unable to connect to or edit my own web site for a few weeks now, so I have to use a free hosting service to show you the images I took today.

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Image host by PicTiger

Writer's Block?

I'm embarrassed to admit that this online creative writing course isn't doing much to stew the juices.

I guess part of the problem lies in the fact that we only have two short activities due each week and I haven't really even cracked open the book. What I have read from the first few chapters hasn't inspired me, and the activities have been pretty easy. The worst part is that we have to respond to at least two other things per week, which means that at least one person is going to comment on my warm-ups. Generally, they've been ridiculous and not at all helpful, such as “That was really good!” Well, thanks, but what could I have done to make it better? Or, my personal favorite “That was good, but I don't think people from that country treat their wives the way you say.” Yeah, well, I never said she was from any particular country . . . it's fiction, you know?
I hope that when we are supposed to do the peer-review-type stuff I'll actually get some constructive criticism so that I can actually edit my work.

I had the idea to share with you something I did just write for my last warm-up. I wish I could find the photo that goes along with it, because I think that makes the story better. It's an older couple, probably in their late seventies, standing in front of a window at what's obviously an airport. The activity was to imagine what they're thinking and feeling, if they're waiting for someone to arrive, or waiting to take a flight, etc…
So here's what I came up with (not saying it's good or bad, just sharing 'cause I said I would):

Delores and William have been together for a long time. One of their few shared activities is going to the airport to watch planes. While they stand in silence, Delores imagines herself getting on one – any one – to jet off to some exotic, far away place. She sees herself as twenty, only she's twenty today, not back when she really was twenty, pregnant for the second time and waiting at home for William to return home from his work at the Weeping Water electric company. She can have an exciting job and many lovers and not be frowned upon as too promiscuous or independent.
William imagines his first real love getting off one of the planes, a young Korean woman he met in 1952 who gave him the most pleasure he would ever experience in his life. She was diminutive – petitie and adorable – and quiet, not like Delores who has always been a tall, handsome woman with too many opinions.

Though they rarely even speak to one another anymore, this one shared pleasure is something about which they have never spoken at all. It started thirty years ago when they went to the airport in the city, Lincoln, Nebraska, to meet their son returning from Vietnam. Delores thought the plane was arriving at noon; William thought it was coming in at two. They were both wrong. The plane was delayed in New York City and their son Thomas didn't get into Lincoln until after dinner. Neither of them even noticed the time pass. They watched the hustling businessmen in their suits, just stopping in between flights, men who would never give a thought to settling in a town as banal and mundane as Lincoln, let alone in Weeping Water, Nebraska, where Delores and William call home.

This one shared activity, about which they never speak, is the one thing in their lives which has given them pleasure, privately, and without expectation from the other.

Opportunities

Part of critical thinking, says my Logic instructor, is recognizing opportunities and finding creative ways to solve problems.
I have only been in the class three times so far so I’m not sure how to creatively solve the following problem.

A friend of mine has a government job. I helped her land it by helping her make a great resume. She makes a little under $30k working there, which isn’t great, but she also doesn’t have a degree, and the benefits are outstanding (about which I’ll explain later). She got the job based on her extensive experience working in human services programs and doing case management. A lateral position is opening in September and she will move into it. It’s not more money. A second position may open within the next year which would involve more investigation and less paperwork filing.

I went to meet her for lunch downtown today and she was explaining this to me, showed me around her office and her building.
She also explained some of the other benefits she receives. She has a badge, is sworn in, and can make arrests. Since her agency is somewhat related to police work, she has a company car that is maintained by the city, including paid gas. She gets a cell phone for work (but is on call 24 hours per day for a week each month, I think), has an office (with no windows), and receives all the great health and time off benefits you get working for the government.

She didn’t lay the pressure on too heavy today, but I know she thinks I should apply for this position, as well as go part time at school, taking evening classes.

I suppose the conundrum lies in the fact that, if I were to take this job, we wouldn’t be without health insurance while Charlie is in school. We have it now through his job, as well as his paid time off. He is about a year closer to graduating than I am.

I know I don’t want to quit school right now. I might think differently in September, but I’m not sure. I know I don’t want to move to another state without my Bachelor’s. I don’t think I want to take a job knowing I might only be there for a year or two, especially if it’s a government position.
But this job would also give us a reliable second form of transportation while we could trade in the SUV for something a little more economical. It would also create opportunities for lateral moves into jobs in other cities/states if we did want to move, and based upon where Charlie went to school. It’s not as much as he makes in sales, but it’s close, so we wouldn’t really be losing anything.

Like I said. I have a problem that I need to solve.

Criticism is okay, if it's constructive.

Being an animal lover sets you up for some criticism. It goes with the territory. But I happen to be the kind of person who believes in being as “fair” a screaming liberal as I can be. If that makes any sense. There seems to be a misconception that people who believe in the humane treatment of animals don't care about how people are treated. I don't strictly care about animals — I care about the elderly, children, the poor (and I include myself in that statistic as I have teetered on the edge of extreme poverty, like when I was homeless for about 3 months; and just making it from paycheck to paycheck), any and all groups which may be considered “minorities,” and anyone else who is in a position to be taken advantage of, including animals.

I got to thinking of the time I protested the circus in the late '90s and had patrons shouting at me to “get a real job” or ask me why I didn't try to “help homeless people or something.” In fact, I have “tried to help homeless people or something.” I also worked with people with disabilities for about 9 years, spent the summer fundraising for a nonprofit reentry program for formerly incarcerated juveniles, and volunteered with shelters for domestic violence victims. I was the volunteer special events coordinator for my ultra-liberal church, a coach for a unified Special Olympics basketball team for about 4 years, and a host for people in transition between group homes and independent living.

I also believe in the idea that, when we are able, we are responsible for our fellow man – and animals. Karma, in a way.

I think our society has more than enough beauty and cleaning products. Just because this particular kibble has more cornmeal than the last incarnation does not mean animals have to die. Just because some woman wrote Revlon and asked for a more glossy lipstick does not mean more and more inhumane tests have to be run to create that ultimate super-glossy long-wearing shade. It's absolutely ridiculous.

I believe that a society can be judged on the way it treats its animals. Some people tote around toy chihuahuas in $1000 D&B handbags, while the guy across the street from me beats his German Shepherds with a 2×4.

I think it's wrong to scare little kids with nasty coloring books showing Ronald McDonald as a bloody, evil butcher chopping off the heads of cows. I think it's unethical to compare chicken farms to the Holocaust.
But I don't understand what's wrong with not buying a particular brand of dog food.
I think there are many ways to test medical products and new drugs (as well as mascara, bleach, dog food, and shampoo) without necessarily killing an animal, but I am not asking to (nor will I) boycott a company for coming up with an AIDS vaccine or cancer cure.

I'm sorry if my opinion about any of this bothers some people. It is my choice and I'm not asking anyone else to follow me. My last post wasn't about “why” I thought people should boycott whichever organization or company I boycott, it was just some random thoughts on what I don't, personally, choose to do.

Long, Boring Story . . .

Today was looking up to be a really long day for just about everyone I know. My co-worker Matt was desperately searching for someone to close for him tonight because a friend has tickets to an IU game. The one person who could have covered for him was apparently working this morning and trying to get someone to come in for her.

I got a call from my manager at 7am asking me to come in for that same girl. I didn't get up until about quarter till 8 and that was because Charlie is heading up to northwest Indiana to help his dad and new stepmom move about an hour and a half south of where they currently live. I was going to go in to work and make a couple of drinks for us, to be nice. Turns out, he'd been nice too and had already gone in, which is when he found out my manager needed me to come in.
He said she wanted someone from about 9:30 till 11am or so, but I'm also scheduled to work 2pm to close. I figured, what the hell, I could use the tip money. Saturday mornings between those hours are generally really busy.
So I called my manager at 8 and asked if she needed me. The girl that's sick didn't want to leave because she needs the money, so my manager (Annie) was going to talk with her and call me right back. I rushed around to get ready as fast as I could – washed my hair but didn't have time for a shower, put on a little makeup to try and look presentable at 8 on a Saturday, and sat down with the phone in front of me. After about 10 minutes, I decided to go ahead and take my online math quiz. I continued to pound the three shots of americano Charlie had brought to me. I kept looking over at my phone, worriedly. After another 10 minutes, I finished the quiz online and continued to wait for the call.
It's now 9am. I just called the store and Annie said she didn't need me after all, but forgot to call me back. My coffee is finished and I'm buzzing, my math homework is done, I'm dressed for work, I'm now not due in for another 5 hours, and I don't know what to do with myself.
No one else is home, nor will they be for many, many hours.

Cavan was up, even before me, and left for work before I came downstairs. He has to open and close today, but he currently works for a small, brunchy-type restaurant on the north side, so he should be home, at the latest, around 5pm. This sucks because he's going to have to bust his ass all day and I know he doesn't like this job already. He's only been there two weeks and he's already worried they might let him go because his school schedule conflicts with when they need him most – in the early afternoons. He also said they seem to have a really high turnover rate because they keep hiring only one person at a time to do two or three people's jobs. I don't know how long this will last.

Boycotts

My neighbor and I were just talking about where we would and would not shop for clothes, and where neither of us shopped at all when she gave me a second-hand coat that didn't fit her . . . which got me thinking about the places I boycott.

We just got a Costco membership because we refuse to give money to Wal-Mart and, therefore, Sam's Club. I haven't been inside either one in about a year. Well, now that I think about it, I may have been in a Wal-Mart once in the past 8 months, though, which was probably just a situation of poverty. But no matter how little money I have, I hope I won't go to one ever again.

You know the story — they drive out little businesses and pay their employees so little that they can barely afford to survive, but they pretend like it's okay because they offer such a great health insurance package – which none of their employees can afford. They're also sexist.

Costco doesn't sell our dog food, and Sam's does. With two dogs pushing 100 pounds each (and having a third one when Kate lived with us; her dog, I mean, not her. Tee hee), it was cost-efficient for us to buy it in bulk at Sam's. We stopped doing that a bit over a year ago when I began to wonder if it was really worth it. We can either switch food and get them something different at Costco or just keep getting it at Target.

Costco does sell IAMS dog food, though, which I will not purchase because of their animal testing. And I don't mean they have dogs eat it to ask the dogs if it's tasty; I mean they have dogs eat it then euthanise them (or sometimes they don't), cut open their skulls and bodies, and have a look at their brains and innards.

I refuse to purchase anything made by Proctor & Gamble, which isn't easy. They own so many different little companies now that I'm not even sure of which ones. I have to cross-reference charts and graphs and Web sites just to find out if I can buy a bottle of shampoo. So I usually just get the generic Target stuff.

We won't shop at PetCo, which I thought of because a new one is going up next to the Wal-Mart on Keystone, in a building which used to house a Frank's Nursery & Crafts. PetCo hires teenagers (just like Uncle Bill's and PetSmart, but PetSmart does not sell animals, they only allow shelters to adopt them out) to keep costs low and these kids are notoriously poor handlers. Thousands upon thousands of animals are mistreated, including even birds and fish, every year. I know most people don't care too much for birds and fish, but they don't deserve to die in a cage or tiny bowl just because some unknown, statistical “Consumer” out there chose not to buy them.
Plus, they buy in “bulk,” from puppy mills to save money, so you know those dogs are all blind, deaf, eating their own poo, aggressive, or just plain nuts.

I won't go to Abercrombie and Fitch because I think the're racist, sexist, and help to perpetuate poor body images. Normally I would make some joke about how I'm too fat to wear any of their clothes, but I'm really not. I happen to have a cute plaid shirt-dress that I found at a thrift store and it just so happened to come from A&F. And it's not a size XL or anything, it's a medium. Since it's second-hand and I found it before I ever knew what A&F was, I don't feel too guilty about having it, though I haven't worn it in about two years. I need to hem it up a bit so I can wear it with jeans.

We're also currently boycotting Mike's Car Wash. A friend and former football teammember of Charlie's got into quite a scuffle there. This guy, who I believe everyone calls Spoon, though I don't know why, is a very large, very intimidating-looking black guy. He works out like a maniac, so when I say large, I don't mean fat. I mean he's super-muscular. He was getting his car washed there one day when some sort of altercation occured with one of the employees. I can't remember if it was that Spoon's car got scuffed up because some dude was lazy, or if the guy intentionally did it. Either way, he got out and asked to speak to a manger. Next thing you know, the guy's up in Spoon's face (I wouldn't mess with him, and I doubt Charlie would, either, so the dude at Mike's was clearly an idiot), stepping on his feet, and calling him the “N-word.” Not cool. Not to mention kicking the bumper or something equally ridiculous.
Then the guy threatens to call the cops because Spoon tells him if he doesn't back off he'll take him down. Spoon laughs and says to go ahead and call them, because he knows he's been very careful not to touch the guy or do anything inappropriate. Turns out, unfortunately, that the cop the guy calls “just so happens,” coincidentally, to be his best pal from high school. The employee's, not Spoon's, mind you.
Suddenly the whole situation is turned around and Spoon is getting arrested and handcuffed and called all sorts of names.
He's been suspended from his job and has all sorts of legal battles ahead of him in the future because he has to a.) fight the charges of “assault” from the employee and cop — who claimed to see the whole incident b.) try and get the Mike's people to hand over video surveillance (which they eventually did, but was clearly edited, with entire minutes missing) and c.) then sue them to try and reclaim his dignity, lost paychecks, court fees, etc…

It's utterly ludicrous and I won't patronize any establishment that allows its employees to conduct themselves that way. The fact that this guy's manager is going along with it, deleting portions of video, and claiming Spoon is somehow at fault makes me sick. He's really a super-nice guy who also happens to have gone to law school, so they fkked with the wrong black dude. He even said himself that if he hadn't known more about the legal system, he'd probably be another statistic of some black guy serving time in jail for not doing anything wrong.

UGH.

That was a long enough story that I think I'll stop there.

Wintry

I guess it's winter again, at least until tomorrow and Friday, then it'll be winter again on Saturday. We got a couple of inches overnight and my hopes of picking up dog poo in the backyard are now totally dashed.
I don't try to make a habit of actually “talking about the weather.” It just strikes me as odd that the first three weeks of January have been warmer than all of December, part of November, and that we haven't had any snow since Christmas. And even then it was just slush. Aren't there any scientists out there who are concerned about 60-degree weather in January?